Weighing the Options, Part I

Weighing the Options, Part I

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Tomkinson, Katie

Aside from skiing, what do you do to stay in shape in the winter? That’s right, hit the gym. I’d prefer to use nature's gym—the outdoors—but running and biking on ice is not my idea of a good time. Besides, there's something to be said for treadmills, classes, entertainment, and warmth. So I decided to take advantage of one-week free trials to size up the gym situation around town. Here’s what we found. (Check out the spring issue for more reviews, including how I danced my butt off at Jazzercise. I’m joining the rhythm nation.)

Access Fitness
200 S. 23rd, Bozeman

Access Fitness is like one of those secret New York night clubs with the hidden entrance. You have to know how to find it. And this club is cool; it barely even feels like a gym. Instead of lockers, Access offers large cubbies and everything is in one large room within your view at all times. The machines feel new and come with your very own entertainment center. (I watched Knocked Up my first day while running. That’s a funny movie.)

Access is not a crowded sweat shop. The place is open 24 hours a day, and I never had to wait for a machine. The staff keeps regular hours, but you get a key card for entering the building any time you want. Ate an entire pizza for dinner and can’t sleep? Go work it off at 2:00 am.

But beware: if you like free classes, go elsewhere. Access is too compact and streamlined for that. It would be fun to throw in a spinning or yoga here and there, but I’m a run-bike-lift type of gal, so this worked for me.

Memberships run $30/month with the first three months up front, then it’s month-to-month, no commitment.

Gold’s Gym
1605 Main Street, Bozeman

Every day I worked out at Gold’s, I ran into someone I knew. Close to town, affordable, and with fun, free classes for members, Gold's is a popular place. The locker rooms are large and have enough space for the crowds you’ll find here. Classrooms are on both sides of the gym and the main workout area is in the center.

Gold's has lots of machines, but avoid the before- and after-work crowding (8-9 am and 5-6 pm). You’ll be waiting in a line for a treadmill.

A great perk I found during my trial was the designated core-training/stretching area, which is a pretty overlooked and important part of a full workout.

Gold's has several membership options (student, senior, month-to-month, etc.), but the general option runs $33/month. Couples memberships are $53/month, which helps with the motivation (i.e., “I’m not making those pumpkin bars unless we go to the gym for an hour beforehand”).

Snap Fitness
85 West Kagy, Bozeman

Snap is on the south side of town, near campus. It can be hard to find this one because it looks more like a real estate office than a gym. (It’s in a small white house in the shopping center off Kagy.) But once inside, you'll find a whole bunch of Cybex equipment that's clean and as up-to-date as it gets. Similar to Access, Snap is a key-card club, meaning you can access the gym anytime. The staff is there during the day, so they can walk you through the place and teach you how to use the machines. There's also another Snap on Main in Belgrade.

Like the others, Snap has a no-contract, no-commitment policy and offers a free trial week. Enrollment fees were $49 at press time, and month-by-month memberships were around $30 (they get a little cheaper if you sign a contract and prepay).

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